BitTorrent, Inc., the flagship brand of the larger BitTorrent sharing protocol, has now opened a music and movie download store.
The BitTorrent Entertainment Network, launched Monday, includes content from Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Viacom’s MTV Networks, Paramount, and MGM. Overall, the store will carry a collection of 5,000 movies, TV shows, PC games and music videos, all wrapped within Window Media DRM protections. The protected content will be playable on the Windows Media Player 11, though BitTorrent indicated that some content will be DRM-free. Movies can be downloaded for $2.99 or $3.99, and expire after 30 days, or 24 hours after the first viewing. TV shows can be downloaded for $1.99, and played back an unlimited number of times.
The store represents a march towards above-board sales by BitTorrent, Inc., led by protocol creator Bram Cohen and current president Ashwin Navin. Comparisons are quickly being made to the iTunes Store, though BitTorrent has a larger number movie studios on board. That licensing disparity was created by a number of negotiating differences between the studios and Apple, and part of a relatively slow licensing process involving Hollywood. Looking forward, it remains unclear just how many moviegoers will grab the downloads, especially alongside the easy availability of free full-length motion pictures. A lack of iPod compatibility could also cool adoption. Meanwhile, most of the music content is in video form, including live concerts and documentaries. That is quite different than the free-for-all BitTorrent network, which offers quick access to entire albums and artist catalogs.